A fly buzzed when I died. It wasn’t a noble death, or a valiant one, just a death. I was standing patrol in some godforsaken jungle on a planet I couldn’t even name, and a sniper shot me. Kinetic kill, right through the heart. So that’s it for me, lying bleeding out on the ground. I had always wondered what death would feel like, and I can tell you, it doesn’t. There’s nothing, no feeling, just a sort of growing blankness, like bits of your body are turning off. I guess that’s accurate to what’s happening – bits of my body are turning off, no more oxygen to feed the little guys.

Base sent out a rescue wagon, but all it’s going to pick up is my cold dead corpse. At least they got the bastard, counter-sniper with a rocket. I’d say goodbye to my wife and kids and family, but I don’t have any. I was grown in a vat, originally going to be used for organ replacement for some rich old bugger. Then the war started, and the government realized it had all of these healthy young men laying around collecting dust. Few months of high-speed training, and suddenly I’m standing patrol out in Hell 101, or whatever this planet’s called. Better than lying around knowing I was going to get chopped into spare parts one day.

I know, I’m taking a long time to actually die if I can record all this, but that damn fly buzzing around my head is keeping me awake so I can talk. Don’t know how, but it is. Maybe it sprinkled pixie dust on my face when I closed my eyes. Or if I tap my heels three times, I go home. Yeah, right.

Sorry, blacked out there for a moment. The fly isn’t working as well as it used to. Blood loss, I suppose. Where was I? Nowhere, really, just nattering away into a mic while lying on the ground. I don’t even have a name, just a code number. JNY-35197, that’s me. Has such a nice ring to it that people call me Jenny. Can’t read or write, don’t have any rights. Why would they give either to a bag of organs?

That blankness is most of the way up my chest, and it’s getting a bit hard to breathe. Probably only have about a minute or so more at this rate, so I should wrap things up. I know my comrades and I are just bags of organs, and that we got the bum jobs: foot patrol, grunt work, the dangerous stuff, but we’re still human, still have emotions and think and feel like the rest of you. We’re not cyborgs or androids or whatever you call them these days. So, when the war is over and we go home, treat us clones right, would you? Think of the old empires–if you fought for them, at the end of the war you became a citizen. Give that to me and mine, please. It’s my dying wish, and all it takes is thinking with your heart, and not your head. I know you’ll do it, and thank you. Goodbye.

About the Author

James Tallett is a dedicated lover of fantasy and science fiction, both in book and computer form, and a person who has memorized entirely too many song lyrics for his own good. When he’s not found at his computer for work, he’s found at his computer for fun. Or outside on the mountains near his home, hiking, skiing, and being harassed by his collection of terriers. Who keep demanding he write a book about them (he never has).


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